Two parents with the stubborn gene and a need to control = one strong-willed little girl. Adeline knows what she wants, just like she knows everything there is to know. One example might be wearing bike gloves all day long, everyday, even in place of winter gloves when it is 20 degrees outside. I can’t even type it without laughing because the exact same was said about me at her age, and might still be a bit true today (nah, not me).
Adeline always knows exactly which toys Maisie does and does not want to play with. Strangly this tends to line up perfectly with the very toys Adeline is interested in playing with every time (hmmmmmm). She also knows exactly what time it is (38). And even when she asks and is told the actual time her response is the same, “No Mom, it is 38.” Okay honey, whatever you say . . . . at least that is my response on my better days.
Just yesterday she was going through various letters of the alphabet and naming words which start with those letters. She would say, “K, kkkkkkkkk, Kangaroo begins with K; M, mmmmmm, Maisie starts with M. She told me that my name starts with M too. I said, “That is right, Mom begins with he letter M. Good job girlfriend!”
“No, your name, Eryn, starts with M.”
I teased her back in a silly voice, “What? No, what do YOU call me? That word starts with M, right?”
“I call you Eryn,” she insisted.
“I don’t think so, you call me what?” I attempted to correct her.
“Eryn” she said as she laughed.
I think you can see where this conversation went (and who the victory went to).
Of course knowing her letters, their sounds, and words they begin with is knowledge she has, and should have. She learns this in school. But, her know-it-all attitude often extends into the realm of things she doesn’t, and probably shouldn’t, know yet. (Ie: telling time, what is best for Maisie, which toy Maisie wants, etc.)
But whether it is the letter she learned that day in preschool or the certainty in predicting that it is “going to snow tomorrow” her confidence is the same. She is a sponge and simply wants to know more and more, so that she can tell us more and more. And on her journey to learn more she often seeks after things she is simply not ready to understand and claims knowledge she does not yet have. This is developmentally normal at almost 4 years old. She will mature past the “know it all” stage to some extent as she grows up . . . I hope.
The problem comes when an adult is still like this. At some point we expect others to mature to a point where they are capable of admitting they do not know everything, that they are wrong from time to time, and that there are answers they simply do not have. It can be cute when a 3 year old “knows it all”, not so much when a 33 year old does it.
Questioning is human. Seeking knowledge is normal. It is in our nature to want to know things, to want to know it all. Seeking after the unknown seems to tempt us always. When it comes to God this is no different.
This is why my relationship with God often mirrors Adeline’s relationship with me. Meaning, I often seek answers I am not ready for, knowledge I am not meant to have, and understanding that is beyond me. I lay claim to knowledge I am not meant to have.
But is this okay? Is it good? Is it helpful?
There are questions Adeline asks that require certain tidbits of knowledge that she does not yet possess, in order to fully grasp the answers. The infamous question most parents dread, “Where do babies come from?” is the perfect example. Most 4-5 year olds are simply not ready for the old birds and the bees talk.
So are all questions helpful? Is all knowledge-seeking good? We might not like it, but I think the answer is NO. Scripture warns us against seeking after the mysteries that are not meant to be revealed.
The prophet Isaiah puts it like this,
“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
‘How clumsy can you be?’
10 How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father,
‘Why was I born?’
or if it said to its mother,
‘Why did you make me this way?’”
This kind of puts us in our place as creations of the Great Creator, clay of the Potter, and children of the Father. I too, have had to do this with my daughters. With Adeline, there are times I simply can’t answer her questions. There are times I actually say, “Okay, good questions. But for now, no more questions. Let’s have some quiet time.” Although I admit there are few times this works, meaning that it rarely squashes the question-asking or claim-staking tactics of my three-year old.
But then again, this is true with me in relation to God as well. His silence, or his answers even, almost never cause me to cease asking questions that challenge my Creator and His work in this world. Like Eve, I am tempted by the juicy fruit on the tree of knowledge. I sinfully seek after divine secrets and wisdom that God is not always eager to give me. Answers that I am not meant to have. Mysteries that are not yet revealed.
Later in chapter 45 the prophet concludes that indeed “O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.”
Isaiah says this as a form of praise, but also as a way of stating the obvious truth that too often evades us, or maybe better said, the truth we too often deny. Our God works in mysterious ways. There is an element of mystery in our faith — that is what makes it faith. It is what makes me human and God, well — God. The hope is that my faith matures to a point where I am not only comfortable with the mystery, but like Isaiah, can celebrate it!
We don’t always like the mystery. We too often fight against it. We think we deserve all the answers most of the time. We claim the right to all knowledge.
Just me? No one else?
God, why did you do this? Why do you allow this? Why does your Word say this? What does this mean? Why can’t you just . . . .
Mystery is hard. It is uncomfortable. It complicates God. It muddles up our faith. It leaves us wondering. It makes us feel small.
But it is necessary. Because when God ceases to be a mystery, he stops being God and becomes the god we create and put in a box. He becomes a god we can explain, capture, label, and define. Instead of being the unexplainable, indefinable, out of this world, everlasting, eternal, and sovereign God that is.